Preventative Dental Care for Dogs and Cats
Every November and February is Dental Health Month here at Fairgrounds Animal Hospital. This month, we will be bringing special focus to oral health and preventative dental care for dogs and cats – why dental care is so important for our pets and what it entails. Studies done in the 1970’s showed that periodontal disease is the most prevalent of any disease among our companion animals! Plaque and tartar build up is about 80% bacteria; that is why a pet with even a moderate amount of tartar can have horrible breath! Worse, tartar damages the gums, the jawbones, and the ligaments that hold the teeth in place, can cause infection in the tooth and bone, make teeth painful, and leaks bacteria into the bloodstream, damaging the kidneys, heart, and lungs. This process makes our pets feel sick, and shortens their lives by years! That is a big factor why, in the 1970’s, most pets didn’t live as long, and their senior years were often unpleasant ones.
Today, we have knowledge that can empower us to prevent this fate and give our pets long, healthy lives. Preventative dental care is a key way to keep quality of life high for our pets, even into their senior years! Here’s how: at home, we should brush our pet’s teeth, provide a low calorie, low sugar diet, and give them plenty of dental chews and toys that have some mechanical action to help keep teeth clean. Ideally, every new puppy or kitten owner should begin daily tooth brushing, or a minimum of three times weekly, to keep tartar from building up on the teeth. Just as with us humans, some tartar will develop in a few years even with daily brushing, but a dental scaling and cleaning will restore the tartar free condition for another year or more with diligent home care. Preventative dental care will add years to your pet’s life and save you thousands of dollars!
If your pet is already an adult, don’t worry – it’s never too late! At Fairgrounds, we offer free dental consults to create your pet’s ideal dental care plan. Together, we can assess what level, if any, of dental disease and tartar is present, teach you how to brush your pet’s teeth, and find what combination of care and tools works best for both of you. Brushing and occasional scaling is the ideal and least expensive dental care option, but some pet owners don’t feel they can find the time to frequently brush their pet’s teeth, or that their pet absolutely won’t tolerate brushings. These owners will instead choose more dental products to supplement brushing, and have scaling done more frequently. Some pets are already at a stage when we form our first dental plan where scaling and possible extractions of one or more teeth are necessary. However, great oral health can be reestablished after the procedure, so there’s always a chance to start fresh! Make your appointment for a free dental consult with us today!